As the fantasy basketball season gets closer to the home stretch, we want to start identifying categories to focus on. Every last fantasy point counts in roto leagues, and in head-to-head building on strength is imperative. As such, sometimes finding a specialist can be warranted.
Typically, building a solid fantasy basketball team is about finding well-rounded players who can contribute across the board, but down the stretch that may not be the case. One block, three, steal, or assist could end up being the difference between a win in a loss. I remember years ago how a Mikki Moore field goal during the last game of the season won a league for me because I needed to increase my field goal percentage to make up ground.
Today we are going to take a look at some players who you can find on waivers in a lot of leagues that can help you in the scarcest of all categories: blocks.
Robin Lopez- In terms of overall fantasy value, RoLo has been something of a disappointment this season. His free throw percentage has slipped considerably compared to his 2013-2014 season in Portland, and his field goal percentage is no longer elite at just 49 percent. While he used to be a sneaky center who provided both percentages, rebounds, and blocks, he now can really only be considered noteworthy in one of those categories. Fortunately, he still blocks shots well and is the 9th-most valuable player in fantasy in that category. Owned in just 50 percent of ESPN leagues, Lopez is definitely worth a look as long as expectations are tempered.
Lucas Nogueira- The Toronto Raptors traded for Nogueira in 2014 knowing that the big Brazilian was going to be a project, and he scarcely played during his first two seasons in the league. This year his minutes have exploded up to 21.3 per game, and he provides a bit more rim protection than starting center Jonas Valanciunas. Nogueira is essentially a non-factor across the board in fantasy basketball, with his 68 percent field goal percentage being somewhat negated by the fact that he only attempts 3.2 shots per game and his 37 percent free throw percentage doesn’t matter much because he gets to the line .2 times. What he does do, however, is block 1.8 shots per game, which is enough to help plenty of teams out there.
Bismack Biyombo- The Orlando Magic raised some eyebrows when they signed Bismack Biyombo to a big contract this offseason. Biyombo is a solid enough defensive big man, but with Nikola Vucevic already occupying the center position for Orlando there was some concern about minutes. At only 23.8 minutes per game, Biyombo isn’t quite a starting quality center, though he does grab a respectable 7.3 rebounds. He isn’t quite as prolific of a shot blocker as he was earlier in his career, but 1.3 swats per game is still decent production in a category that can be tough to come by in fantasy basketball. Only owned in 14 percent of ESPN leagues, Biymobo is worth a look.
Kyle O’Quinn- The New York Knicks are in a state of flux right now, with Carmelo Anthony trade rumors flying and the team sitting just out of the final playoff spot. Meanwhile, backup big man Kyle O’Quinn toils away, doing the dirty work in the paint. He only plays 14.9 minutes per game, but in that time he is productive, blocking 1.2 shots per game, grabbing 5.6 rebounds and shooting 53 percent from the field. The low minutes are a bit of a concern but O’Quinn is still a guy who can help a fantasy team in need of blocks.
Alex Len- As the 5th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, most assumed that by now Len would have a solid grip on the starting job in Phoenix. However, with Tyson Chandler in town, Len is playing just 19.6 minutes per game, which is a three-year low. Len still has potential, though, and his 1.3 blocks per game have value. He doesn’t provide a lot else, but should Chandler rest a bit down the stretch Len could see his fantasy basketball production rise.